It’s all about proving what you know: here you’ll find information about the language certifications available for Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian.
Sometimes just saying you speak Spanish isn’t enough.
Do you know Spanish? That’s great, but how can you prove it? Sometimes just saying so isn’t enough. That’s where language certification comes in. It’s a good way to externally validate your language skills in a way that employers, universities, and others in Spain and around the world take seriously. So let’s take a look at the main language certifications available for the Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian languages. These certificates are awarded after you have passed the corresponding exams.
The Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) issued by the Cervantes Institute (Instituto Cervantes) are to Spanish what the University of Cambridge ESOL exams are to English: widely-recognized and prestigious language certifications. The DELE exams are only available for general English, however.
The DELE exams are offered at three levels: Nivel Inicial, Nivel Intermedio, and Nivel Superior. Each exam is divided into five sections which test reading comprehension, written expression, listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary, and oral expression. Test dates are offered three times a year in an impressive number of countries and cities throughout the world. After the exam it takes approximately three months to find out your results. For more information (in English and Spanish) on the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera, see here.
For more specialized language certification, however, Madrid’s Chamber of Commerce – the Cámara Oficial de Comercio e Industria de Madrid – offers different types of professionally-oriented language certificates (Certificado Básico, Certificado Superior, Diploma) in three subject areas: business, health, and tourism. The exams are offered in Madrid and test the following skills: listening comprehension, oral expression, written expression, reading comprehension, and language knowledge (aka grammar and vocabulary). You can read more about these certificates (in Spanish) here.
The Euskararen Gaitasun Agiria (EGA) (or Certificado de Conocimiento del Euskera as it is known in Spanish), is issued by the Basque government and accredits a person’s general knowledge of the Basque language. However, the exam is only offered at one level – C1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – which means that your Basque must be pretty spectacular in order to pass. This certification doesn’t have foreign speakers in mind though, but the Spanish-Basques who need to prove their Euskera skills in order to get certain government jobs. The battery of exams is offered twice a year in the Basque Country and has three parts offered on separate testing days. For more information (in Spanish), see here.
Exams are available throughout the world.
The Certificats de Llengua Catalana are issued by the Institut Ramon Llull and accredit a person’s general knowledge of Catalan as a foreign language. The exams are available at five levels – Bàsic, Elemental, Intermedi, Suficiència, Superior – and test various skills and knowledge of Catalan. Exam dates are offered twice a year in different cities around the world. You can read more about these certificates (in Catalan) here.
The Certificados Lingua Galega (CELGA) are issued by the Xunta de Galicia and accredit a person’s knowledge of the Galician language. The exams are available at four levels – 1, 2, 3, and 4 – and are offered twice a year in cities throughout Spain. You can read about the CELGA (in Galician) here.
Certificates are issued by the Junta Qualificadora de Coneixements de Valencià of the Generalitat Valenciana to accredit a person’s knowledge of the Valencian language (and linguistics at the highest level). They offer four general certificates (plus other specialized certificates that go along with courses they offer), three of which test a variety of skills and are available at the following levels: Grau Elemental, Grau Mitjà, Grau Superior. The fourth general certificate tests a person’s oral Valencian only (Coneixements Orals). The exams are offered throughout the Valencian Community. For more information (in Spanish and Valencian), see here.
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A look at the variety of languages in Spain (including Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian), the status of official languages in Spain, and how to say some simple phrases in these languages.
Information about some of the differences between the Castillian Spanish of Spain (Castellano) and Latin American Spanish (Español).
Information on learning Spanish for foreigners and expatriates. Free options, schools and other ways to learn the local language are all discussed.